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Juneau residents save lives in Alaska

Posted: March 31, 2012 - 11:01pm

Juneau residents are rolling up their sleeves to help Alaska patients. Blood Bank of Alaska will have blood drives in the state capital from April 3 to April 6 at University of Alaska Southeast, the Federal Building and Alaska State Office Building.

Appointment slots are filling fast. Donors should make an appointment for a chance to donate. Especially needed are donors with O Negative blood. Walk-ins welcome as time permits. Call (907) 222-5630 or visit www.bloodbankofalaska.org for more information. Alaska patients appreciate your support.

Rep. Dan Saddler is one of many who pay it forward with blood donations.

“You never know when you might have to rely on the generosity of another person,” he said.

Saddler’s wife Chris became pregnant with triplets in 1998. After she was on bed rest for several weeks at Providence Alaska Medical Center, the babies were born prematurely at about 28 weeks on Nov. 11, 1998: Jamie, Peggy and Danny.

“I don’t think any of them weighed more than 1,000 grams,” Saddler said. Jamie, their oldest son, died after two days, after complications from surgery. He had required surgery to remove a cyst from his lungs and received blood transfusions. Danny and Peggy stayed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for about three months, growing big enough to come home. They remained on feeding tubes for months afterward.

“While it was a harrowing time for us all, our children received splendid care at Providence,” Saddler said.

He and Chris spent many long hours at the NICU.

“Having experienced first the tremendous gift of children, and then to lose one, I have gained a very clear vision of just how precious and fragile life is, and how important it is to support those who work at the intersection of birth and death.”

“I had been an occasional blood donor before the kids were born, but got more active afterwards, as I know how much blood can be consumed in an operation.” he said.

“Giving blood boosts my spirit,” Saddler said, “It is a way to honor the memory of Jamie and to pay a debt of gratitude for Peggy and Danny. I’ve been given a gift. I feel it is an honor as well as an obligation, to pay back that gift by giving other blood to help other children live, and to help other parents enjoy the blessings that Chris and I enjoy today.”

Juneau drives take place at University of Alaska Southeast, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. April 3 and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. April 4 in the Glacier View Room. Donors also may call UAS Activities & Housing at 796-6528 for appointments at the UAS drives. At the Juneau Federal Building, drive is 9 a.m.-3 p.m., April 5 in the GSA Conference Room 285, 709 W 9th Street. This drive is closed to the general public. The Alaska State Office Building drive is 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 6 in the Conference Room.

Blood Bank of Alaska supplies blood to 20 Alaska hospitals and medical centers. BBA and its donors are dedicated to serving the Alaska community by providing high quality blood products and related laboratory services while meeting changing healthcare needs. Learn more at www.bloodbankofalaska.org.

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